"Mauresmo Joins All Star Hastings Direct Cast
11th June 2004 - Report by Rob Eyton-Jones
Former Australian Open finalist and Wimbledon and US Open semi finalist, Amelie Mauresmo is the latest world top 10 player to join next week's Hastings Direct International Championships in Eastbourne (14-19 June).
The French 24 year old, ranked four in the world this week, has won Tour titles in Berlin and Rome this year - only the third female player in history to achieve the feat after Stefi Graf (1987) and Monica Seles (1990).
Mauresmo, who comes into the main draw following yesterday's withdrawal of Russian Maria Sharapova, is a welcome addition to a star-studded Eastbourne line up. Seventeen of the world's top 30 players have now committed to the Hastings Direct International Championships.
Born in Geneva, Switzerland
Mauresmo first announced her arrival on the women's world tennis stage as the unseeded finalist in the 1999 Australian Open, beating the then world No.1 Lindsay Davenport before losing to the invincible Martina Hingis.
Mauresmo decided to play tennis at the age of four after watching countryman Yannick Noah win the French Open in 1983. She improved her ranking by a massive 537 places between 1994 and 1995, a year later she won the junior Roland Garros title and was named World Junior Champion by the International Tennis Federation.
She has now won 12 singles titles in her career. Her win-loss record for 2004 stands at an amazing 27-4, which helped her obtain a personal-best ranking of 3 in February this year. A highly consistent Grand Slam performer, Mauresmo has already reached two semi-finals and six quarter finals.
Having reached the quarter finals of both this year's Grand Slams, (withdrawing with injury at the Australian Open and losing to Elena Dementieva at Roland Garros), she will be hoping to perform even better on the grass court season. Her best result at Wimbledon was when she reached the semi-finals in 2002. Although she did not enter last year, she will relish the chance for an early birthday present - the Ladies Finals are held a day before her twenty-fifth birthday.
The Hastings Direct International Championships return to Devonshire Park, Eastbourne from Monday 14 to Saturday 19 June 2004. The qualifying event runs from Saturday 12 to Monday 14 June 2004."